Google shuts down insights for search, Google news badges, others

1 Oct, 2012

Ever since Google started its 'spring cleaning process' in September last year, it has already shut down or consolidated more than 50 products till now. Google Pack, Fast Flip and Aardvark, etc. were some of the first products to face the axe. The search giant has now added a few more products to that list, taking the total number of shut down/consolidated products close to 60. The new ones include:

Insights for Search: Insights for Search has been merged into a revamped Google Trends. Users can now see search trends and compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties in a single place -- However, trends for websites that allowed people to compare traffic and audiences of different websites will no longer be supported.

AdSense for feeds: Designed to enable publishers earn revenue from their content by placing ads on their RSS feeds. The company will begin to retire this feature starting tomorrow and finally close it on December 3. Publishers can continue to use FeedBurner URLs powered by Google.

Google News Badges: Starting October 15, Google will stop issuing and displaying Google News Badges as well as showing 'recommended sections'. Users can still tailor their Google News by adding custom sections or adjusting the frequency with which news sources appear.

Classic Plus: A Google Search feature that lets people upload or select images to use as a background on Starting October 16, users won't be able to upload new pictures, and the service will be turned off in November. Users will continue to have access to any images they have already uploaded.

Spreadsheet Gadgets: Designed to allow people to add customised features to Google Spreadsheets. But since most popular gadgets have already been added directly into charts (in spreadsheets), the company will slowly turn off Gadgets in Spreadsheets next year.

Places Directory: An Android app that allowed users to find nearby places of interest. The company has removed the app from Google Play and is taking down the 'Places Directory' site because users can now find everything in Google Maps for Mobile.

+1 Reports: Was introduced in Webmaster Tools to help publishers measure +1 activity on their pages. Since webmasters now use 'Social Reports in Google Analytics' to get a wider view of social activity (including +1's), the company will discontinue the stand-alone +1 Reports on November 14.

Google storage in Picasa and Drive will be consolidated (over the next few months) so users will have 5 GB of free storage across both services. Also, if a user is paying for storage, their free storage will now be counted towards their total. What this means is that if a user buys a 100GB plan, they will be given 100GB of total storage instead of adding to what they already had as free storage.

"We believe this approach will make it much easier for users. For both free and paid storage, people at or near their current storage limits will have the same amount of storage after this change," wrote Yossi Matias, senior engineering director at Google, in an official company blog post.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)